In the past year, Brisbane has been infiltrated by the poke bowl craze, and I am unashamedly someone who has become unduly obsessed. I scour menus for raw fish and veggies; Suki was so much a part of my weekly routine, I once received a staff discount. A few months ago, when I heard Newstead was getting a little fishier, I agonised for Cheeky Poke Bar’s opening day. The wait was well worth it.

Cheeky oozes a cheeky — sorry, couldn’t help it — cool: wine bottles reign over a barista brewing matcha lattes and a medley of colours as poke bowls are brought to life. All unassuming glamour, blue bricks race along the walls and gold accents mean the space can effortlessly transition from a healthy lunchtime spot to the place you will take your next date. Poke is taken seriously here, but so is the experience.

Most of my poke encounters have been of the on-the-go variety, but Cheeky seeks to redefine that, inviting you to unwind with a selection from its well-stocked bar. There’s a strong selection of Australian wines, and an even stronger showing of cocktails.

If you prefer your kombucha spiked, the Cheeky Collins mixes it with gin, rosemary, and cucumber. To perk up after a long day of work, the Miso Sleepy fuses spiced rum with miso caramel and filtered coffee. If you’re looking for something healthier, you can order iced matcha lattes, fresh-pressed juices, or kombucha sans alcohol.

And then, of course, there’s the star of the enterprise: the poke bowls. Cheeky has curated a range of signature bowls, each featuring one of its seafood or land-based protein options: salmon, tuna, kingfish, prawns, tofu, chicken, or scallops. Both my guest and I, however, were drawn to the build-your-own bowl.

Fully customisable, you choose a protein, a base (think glass noodles, coconut and turmeric rice, or greens), a selection of five veggies, one of their primarily gluten-free and vegan dressings, a crunch (ranging from tobiko to wasabi peas), and a seasoning. Avocado and eggs are available for an extra charge.

Servings are very generous — it would be a struggle to finish one in a single sitting if it wasn’t so delicious.

There’s little to say but this is the place poke dreams are made of. Aesthetically, the bowls, exploding with vibrancy, demand an Instagram, and when eaten, demand a return visit. The veggies are flavourful and the fish tastes as fresh as promised — you get the sense that every bowl is prepared with the amount of care given to choosing and sourcing each ingredient.

If you’re looking for something a little different, Cheeky also dishes up tacos using the same ingredients, as well as miso bone broth. Dessert is a range of milk ices flavoured with fruit or green tea.

Cheeky is a welcome addition to Brisbane’s poke scene, offering fresh, healthy food in a luxe package, appealing to both the devoted and those who are just seeking a creative cocktail.

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